Today is an exciting day for us. It’s when we—at last—get to joyfully announce the release of Gluten-Free Family Favorites! It’s the equivalent of hosting a big family celebration … doing the menu planning, the grocery shopping, the food prep, the actual cooking, setting the whole spread out on the dining room table, and finally saying “Mangia! Bon appetit!” Except the process takes about two years from start to finish and is far more exhausting. Yet here we are!
If you’ve followed this blog from the beginning—and even if you’ve found your way here more recently—you’ve watched our family grow. We began as a young married couple, and in subsequent years added a child, and then a second, and now a third. In parallel, though not in tandem, we also added books: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking’s 1st and 2nd editions, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes, and now Gluten-Free Family Favorites.
We think this latest is perhaps our most important book. Let me tell you why.
Meeting a need for families
In the years since Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking was first released, we’ve periodically but ever consistently received emails from parents telling us stories about feeding their gluten-free children and families with our recipes. It’s deeply gratifying to receive such notes. But over time we’ve sensed an aching void in the gluten-free cookbook world. Yes, you could cook for a family, including children, out of pretty much any cookbook. But scant few have specifically addressed gluten-free children and their families. This one, of course, does, including with familiar kid classics such as pancakes, soft pretzels, chicken fingers and fish sticks, and ice cream sandwiches. There are 75 recipes in total, spanning the gamut from breakfasts to snacks and sides to dinners to sweet treats for dessert.
Gluten-Free Family Favorites is about more than putting food on the table your kids—gluten-free or not—will love to eat. It is about getting them in the kitchen with you… gluten-free flour in their hair, dough under their fingernails, and wide grins on their faces. You see, we firmly believe that in an era of ever busier schedules and commitments, time spent together as a family in the kitchen is time well spent. Plus, the confidence your gluten-free child develops in the kitchen translates into other aspects of their life, where they’ll have to confidently navigate sometimes difficult social situations when being gluten-free could be a challenge: class parties, play dates, sports and other extracurricular activities, etc.
Setting an inclusive table
We know what it feels like when you’re welcomed at a dinner table where the food is safe to eat… and we know what it’s like when you’re the odd one out. It’s tempting to think of that as a binary state—you’re either in or out, you’re either gluten-ous or gluten-free. But those of us in the gluten-free community know how many shades of gray there are. So often gluten is just one of several dietary restrictions. That’s why we developed and tested as many modifications to each recipe as we could to—beyond gluten-free—also make a recipe free of corn, soy, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, refined sugar, etc. and any combination. Consider it the Top Eight Plus. Every recipe has the necessary modifications right there on the page, plus there’s a handy quick-reference table in the back of the book so you can, at a glance, tell whether a recipe is naturally free of an allergen or can be modified to make it so.
Comprehensive yet concise information
Going gluten-free can have a steep learning curve. If you’re already on the other side of that curve, you probably still remember what those first days, weeks, and months were like. If you’re just starting out, there are a number of great resources available to help you through the transition. The introductory section of this book is one of them. It’s comprehensive yet concise (in our estimation, an admirable pair of qualities!), with sections on gluten and gluten-free 101, setting up a gluten-free kitchen, food and kitchen safety basics for kids (and adults), navigating the supermarket (not to mention federal labeling laws and third-party GF certifications), and tips for reducing your gluten-free grocery bill. It’s all in there, and in true Goldilocks style, not too much or too little.
We’ve said previously of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking that if you cook from its pages, it’s like you’re cooking with us. It’s not so much a collection of recipes for a cookbook as it is a collection of our family’s recipes that happen to have been assembled into a cookbook. Our personal copy is dog-eared and frayed and messy in the way a well-worn and often-used cookbook should be. We cook from it regularly, if not daily.
The same can now be said of Gluten-Free Family Favorites. Though our personal copy—one of the first off the presses two short weeks ago when it arrived in our mailbox straight from the publisher—has barely had time for the ink to dry, it’s already showing signs of beloved use. We hope that it finds a similar place in your kitchen.
The title of this blog has been our most fundamental perspective on food and cooking since basically Day One: cooking with no gluten is no problem. That’s just as true when it comes to feeding your gluten-free child or an entire gluten-free family. Let Gluten-Free Family Favorites be your guide to help make your kitchen and dining room table whole again.
And to celebrate GFFF’s release, we’re giving away three copies, one in honor of each of our children. Just leave a comment on this blog post—a recipe you’re excited to try, your family’s gluten-free story (briefly). We’ll randomly select and announce the three winners one week from today, next Monday, July 21. Good luck!
–Pete and Kelli